John Steinbeck: The Short Reign of Pippin IV (657 words)


Social, cultural, and political mores of the mid-20th Century are given an elegant send-up in The Short Reign of Pippin IV, which author John Steinbeck first published in 1957. In this novel, one Pippin Arnulf Héristal, vineyard owner, astronomy enthusiast, and descendant of Charlemagne, is named King of France when the incumbent elected president is dealt a resounding vote of no-confidence by the country’s varied political factions, whose leanings run the full spectrum of political philosophy.

Reluctant in his assumption of the throne and its trappings (he never warms to the notion of keeping a mistress and is fond of countryside rides on a motorcycle), Pippin at first oversees a brief period of good f…

Citation: Donohue, Cecilia. "The Short Reign of Pippin IV". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2006 [, accessed 24 February 2021.]

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